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Chancery Overview

Chancery work is one of the core strengths of Chambers, which is recognised to be one of the pre-eminent sets in this field. The set has been nominated for eight out of the last nine years as Chancery Set of the Year at the Chambers & Partners Bar Awards and in 2011 was named Chancery set of the Year. We are ranked for Chancery: Commercial (top rank) and Chancery: Traditional by Chambers and Partners and we are ranked for Private client: trusts and probate by the Legal 500.

Our experience includes both contentious and non-contentious work, involving the whole range of Chancery practice. This comprises companies, insolvency, partnership and LLPs, probate, trusts, civil fraud, property litigation, intellectual property, professional negligence, charities, and general commercial disputes.

The set’s reputation is underpinned by what Chambers & Partners has described as “its staggeringly fine commercial ability and marvellous business-like approach.”

In 2010, Alan Boyle QC was named by Chambers & Partners as Chancery Silk of the Year, and in 2013 he was named by Legal 500 as Traditional Chancery Silk of the Year. In 2008, William Henderson was named Chancery Junior of the Year. No fewer than 23 members of Chambers are recommended for Chancery work by Chambers and Partners.


Chambers & Partners 2017

Chancery Commercial

Serle Court regularly handles innovative commercial chancery work both at home and abroad. Its impressive silks and juniors are praised for their strength in depth, and handle complicated chancery litigation across the board. Recent matters include cases arising out of the Madoff fraud and those concerning major international trusts and company law. Commentators say of the set: "Serle Court has a very strong intellectual base. Its members are highly intelligent, user-friendly, approachable and supportive." "This is the most commercial of the chancery sets. It offers a variety of skill sets that others can't provide, and houses some of the biggest names at the Bar." 

Client service: Sources say that the clerks are "responsive, always easy to talk to and easy to get on with." Head clerk Steve Whitaker is singled out for special praise - "Steve Whitaker is always helpful. The service you get from him is ahead of any other chambers." 


Elizabeth Jones QC
Heralded for her varied commercial chancery practice, she has experience in contentious trusts, civil fraud and property work. She is also an expert in banking and financial services. Much of her work is cross-border, and she has vast experience of handling cases in the Channel Islands and has further been called to the Bar in the British Virgin Islands.
Strengths: "She works well in a teams and is fabulously clever, yet has the ability to wear her cleverness lightly." "She gets to grips with intricate detail in a short space of time. She's also very impressive on her feet."
Recent work: Acted in a major case regarding alleged breach of fiduciary duty and the recovery of company loans. She appeared on behalf of an international businessman and philanthropist. 

Alan Boyle QC
An outstanding silk who handles some of the most complicated cases of onshore and offshore litigation at the Chancery Bar. He attracts work from a number of leading financial institutions.
Strengths: "Alan Boyle is a very important figure at the Chancery Bar. He has trenchant views and fights tooth and nail. It is very nice for the client to know they have someone who is utterly on their side." "He's a true grandee of the Chancery Bar and an absolute pleasure to work with."
Recent work: Acted in Kingate Global Fund v Kingate Management, a major unjust enrichment and contract case arising out of the Madoff fraud. 

Philip Jones QC 
A leading QC who counts major banks and institutions among his clients. His global practice spans commercial chancery cases heard both in the UK and offshore jurisdictions including the British Virgin Islands.
Strengths: "He is charming and a complete heavyweight in this area." "He has encyclopaedic knowledge and a great intellect, but he treats everybody in the room as his equal. His advice is pragmatic." 

Philip Marshall QC
A "very robust and highly experienced individual" with a formidable reputation. His broad-based practice sees him handling civil fraud, professional negligence and banking and finance litigation.
Strengths: "He's fierce and incredibly good. His handle on the law is incredible and he is just an amazing advocate." 

Hugh Norbury QC
A "very charming" silk with a wealth of experience. He has the skills to handle a variety of matters at the Chancery Bar, but is especially well known for complex civil fraud cases.
Strengths: "Tactically he is right on the money." "He is really quite exceptional and a pleasure to deal with. His arguments are excellent and well judged."
Recent work: Appeared for Coca-Cola Enterprises in a case involving misappropriated assets that required additional proceedings in Jersey. 

Lance Ashworth QC 
Established silk who handles a variety of commercial chancery matters, particularly major shareholder disputes including unfair prejudice petitions. 
Strengths: "An all-rounder who is very good with clients and a pleasure to work with. He is very good in court, extremely hard-working, and he does everything thoroughly and well." 

David Blayney QC 
Has a broad-based commercial chancery practice and acts on behalf of a range of high-profile clients including banking groups. His cases range from major shareholder disputes and trust litigation to fraud and bribery claims, and he has further noteworthy experience in banking and finance matters. 
Strengths: "He is incredibly lateral and creative in his thinking, and also has a mastery of detail. He is very calm, circumspect and wise." 

Dominic Dowley QC 
Experienced silk whose practice incorporates an array of commercial matters, but has notable strength in civil fraud and asset-tracing cases. Recently, he has handled a number of international trust disputes and fraud claims. 
Strengths: "He understands and explains difficult legal concepts and manages to use the tools of the law in such a way as to get an outstanding result for his client." 

Jonathan Adkin QC
Recent silk with a growing reputation.  His diverse commercial chancery practice encompasses major fraud and trusts litigation, both in the UK and offshore.
Strengths: "Highly confident and very able, he can trun his hand to just about anything.  "He has a good, robust court manner and takes no prisoners."

John Machell QC 
Has a strong commercial chancery practice and is particularly renowned for his work in partnership law. He is also an expert in major litigation arising from company or trust disputes, and international fraud claims. 
Strengths: "He tells it as it is and will give you a very fair view of the chances of success. He is also very authoritative and great on his feet." 
Recent work: Represented the defendant in Salem v Salem, a high-stakes trust and commercial partnership case. 

Daniel Lightman QC 
"Very talented" recently appointed silk with a broad commercial chancery practice, who is well regarded by his peers. His practice is heavy on cases concerning company law, alleged breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. 
Strengths: "He has very good attention to detail and is good at understanding an unusual brief." 


Dakis Hagen 
A leading junior in both traditional and commercial chancery, who has considerable experience of representing clients in offshore cases. 
Strengths: "He's articulate, charming, and someone with an absolutely brilliant brain. He's a man of boundless energy - he keeps going when everybody else is flagging and he is always on the money." 
Recent work: Acted in Hayward v Striker, a dispute over the control and ownership of a substantial trust and corporate structure in the Bahamas. 

David Drake 
A junior with impressive experience who has noteworthy expertise in civil fraud and company work. He counts major public sector bodies and corporate leaders among his clients. 
Strengths: "His written work is the best I've seen. It's just so clear, easy to follow and polished. He's got a real economy in the way he writes, and he says exactly what he needs to, no more or less. He's a cut above the rest." 
Recent work: Appeared for the NHS in England in Secretary of State for Health v Servier Laboratories, a claim against the largest private pharmaceutical company in France. 

Justin Higgo
Well regarded for his work on behalf of clients facing UK and international commercial chancery disputes. He has substantial experience in civil fraud cases. 
Strengths: "He is confident and can pick out points that are going to win cases." 
Recent work: Instructed in Glenn v Watson, proceedings to set aside a shareholders' agreement relating to the establishment and operation of an investment business on the grounds of deceit. 

Giles Richardson 
Popular junior whose work covers the spectrum of commercial chancery matters, and who has particular experience of handling offshore disputes and trust litigation. He is often instructed by leading solicitors to work on complicated multi-jurisdictional cases.
Strengths: "He is charming to deal with, and is a very skilled and effective communicator." "He is a senior junior who is very highly regarded in the contentious trusts world." 

Simon Hattan 
Senior junior with a well-regarded commercial chancery practice, who has expertise in banking and finance litigation. His work further includes major cases concerning breach of fiduciary duty and multi-jurisdictional fraud claims.Strengths: "He had a career in banking before he came to the Bar, and it really shows in the work he does; his knowledge of banking concepts is impressive. He is incredibly knowledgeable, highly committed and someone with a great sense of humour." 

James Weale
Well-regarded junior with a good profile in the commercial chancery world. His varied practice takes in professional negligence matters, major trust litigation and insolvency disputes.
Strengths: "Very committed, intelligent and personable." "He stands his ground well and tackles the issues in an exemplary fashion."
Recent work: Acted in Tseitline v Mikhelson, a multi-jurisdictional contract dispute regarding a major property development. 

Timothy Collingwood 
A respected practitioner whose practice spans shareholder disputes and breach of duty cases as well as commercial contract litigation. He is called to the Bar in the Cayman Islands and is often to be seen handling cases there. 
Strengths: "He is a great team player and has a full handle on the detail." "He's very client-friendly and he explains things well."
Recent work: Acted in Brett v Migration Solutions Holdings, a shareholder dispute regarding a data centre operating company. 

Ruth den Besten
Has a wide-ranging practice that encompasses cases concerning civil fraud, trusts, insolvency and company law. She often represents major banking clients. 
Strengths: "She is always a pleasure to deal with while at the same time being reassuringly robust in her views. She drafts impressively and concisely and is great in court." "Ruth is bright and a great team player." 

Nicholas Harrison

Has worked on high-stakes commercial litigation for over two decades, and has acted for a wide range of clients including senior politicians and banking groups. In addition to handling commercial chancery cases in England, he has experience of representing clients in offshore jurisdictions including the Bahamas and the British Virgin Islands.
Strengths: "Brilliant and very bright." "He is wonderful to work alongside and his written work is exemplary." 

Chancery Traditional

Although best known as a commercial chancery set, Serle Court also has a strong presence in traditional chancery, and has members who are instructed in the full range of matters in this field. Sources say Serle Court is one of the sets with the "greatest breadth and depth" in offshore and contentious trusts work. It handles matters of the greatest worth and complexity and has "some seriously capable people there." The set's traditional chancery offering has recently been bolstered by the arrival of Richard Wilson QC and Constance McDonnell from a rival set. 

Client service: "The clerking is first-class. The senior clerks are unfailingly helpful and give reliable advice about alternative counsel if the first choice is not available." Steve Whitaker is Serle Court's head clerk. 


Alan Boyle QC
Senior silk and head of chambers, whose practice takes in trusts and probate litigation of the greatest value and importance.
Strengths: "He never ceases to impress and when he gets his teeth into a case he is unstoppable. He really throws his all into his clients' cases. He is hugely hard-working, and meticulous in his preparation, and one of the barristers whom you can see judges really sit up and listen to."
Recent work: Handled a heavyweight case concerning one of the largest feeder funds into the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

Frank Hinks QC 
Traditional chancery specialist with decades of experience in trust and probate matters. He provides advice and handles litigation both domestically and offshore.
Strengths: "He keeps a low profile but he is effective. His advice is full of clarity and he leaves no stone unturned. Hinks is a wonderful source of knowledge and modesty itself considering his standing at the Bar." 

Elizabeth Jones QC
Established trusts and probate silk who has a wealth of international experience, having appeared in cases in Jersey, Guernsey, the Cayman Islands, Panama, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
Strengths: "When we have something extremely difficult she is who we talk to. She is never fazed. Her written is work is as impressive as her oral advocacy."
Recent work: Advised on a significant English trust dispute concerning assets of over £100 million, with complicated issues regarding the division of assets as well as the duties and removal of trustees. 

Richard Wilson QC
Negotiates a traditional chancery practice involving a substantial amount of international work, and frequently advises landed estates and institutional trustees. 
Strengths: "He is a very good advocate who is very considered and measured."
Recent work: Acted for a charity in a high-profile contested will case. 


William Henderson 
Star individual who is praised for his work with private clients, trustees and trust companies. Henderson’s practice typically involves trusts, probate, estate administration, charities and professional negligence matters. 
Strengths: "Will produces written work of an extremely high standard, that is technically very sound but easy to understand. He's both very good with lay clients, and friendly and approachable." "He's very knowledgeable and trusted by the court and clients alike." 

Dakis Hagen
Focus his practice on cases concerning trust disputes, wills and estates. He also acts in divorce matters which feature property or trust law.
Strengths: "Dakis is a go-to barrister for trusts disputes and is particularly strong on complex, technical points. He has proved himself time and again to be exceptionally hard-working and accessible. I consider him at least as capable as many QCs I have worked with."
Recent work: Appeared unled against a silk in a high-value Inheritance Act claim. 

Constance McDonnell
Has a practice centred on contentious trusts and probate cases, as well as Inheritance Act 1975 claims. McDonnell also appears in Court of Protection matters.
Strengths: "She is very clear and very authoritative in the area of trusts and probates. Very clear, she is brilliant with clients and understands how to do deals in cases. She's a fighter." 

Giles Richardson 
Has a vibrant practice and proves particularly strong in restructuring and insolvency matters and company law. He often appears in international cases.
Strengths: "You can call him up and have a frank and candid conversation with him. He's a man with a supreme intellect who understands the dynamics of the offshore world and fulfils his mandates admirably."
Recent work: Instructed in proceedings brought against a former trustee for alleged breaches of trust causing significant loss. 



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